Insurance Coverage for Drought-damaged Crops

AMES, Iowa – Nearly 90 percent of the corn and soybean acres in Iowa are covered by multiple peril crop insurance. Drought damage is an insurable loss under these policies. Producers should consult with their crop insurance agents before harvesting or destroying any drought-damaged crops, said William Edwards, an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economist. 

"The agent will notify a certified crop adjustor to appraise the insured crops," Edwards said. "Keep in mind that when damage is widespread, adjustors cannot be everywhere at once. The adjustor may declare the crop a complete loss. If it has significant yield potential, it can be left and harvested in the fall. If the producer elects to harvest it early, as silage, check strips can be left to verify the actual yield achieved. In any case, the acres must be released by the insurance company before the crop can be harvested early or destroyed."

Any insurance indemnity payments will be settled based on actual harvested production over the entire insurance unit, Edwards said. Fields declared a complete loss will be combined with any harvested acres in the same insurance unit to calculate the final yield. Yield losses are equal to the farm’s historical yield times the level of guarantee purchased, minus the actual yield.

Ninety percent of the insured acres in Iowa are covered by Revenue Protection insurance policies in 2012. Yield losses will be paid at a rate equal to the average CME futures price during the month of October, if it exceeds the average February price of $5.68 for corn (December contract) or $12.55 for soybeans (November contract).  

Following harvest, the usual evidence of actual production should be collected and submitted to the crop insurance agent as soon as possible if it appears that a payment is likely, but not later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period, which is Dec. 10 for corn and soybeans in Iowa. If a producer has a history of selling more than half the crop in the tax year following harvest, reporting of crop insurance proceeds can be deferred to the next tax year, Edwards said.

More information about crop insurance policies and procedures can be found on the Ag Decision Maker website at For additional crop, livestock and home and yard drought related information see Dealing with Disasters.